Hot on the heels of my visit to The Tippler, I’m back with another Thrillist recommendation, Lilium, also in a basement, this time at the W Hotel in Union Sq. And Thrillist once again does not disappoint. Lilium is not only a mysterious, cavernous lair, with sexy drinks like the Grassy Kroll (vodka, muddled ginger, lemongrass) and the the raspberry syrup, egg white (!), lemon Gin Blossom, but a gastronomic hotspot with unparalleled bar munchies. Cheesy, crunchy risotto tater tots with truffle oil, pretzel bits with spicy mustard, olive plates, Boogie-down Bronx pizza…the snacks are on point and it all made sense when I found out that the place is run by the Gerber Group, the people behind the Stone Rose Lounge and the scene of my much-missed, much-lauded Kobe beef skewers.
Ideally sinister mood lighting, low, geometric black leather furniture, and woven brass light fixtures ensures the fittingly cave-chic feel. It’s almost underwater-like, if the captain of a u-boat decided the crew needed a pick-me-up.
The kicker is the loop of Marilyn Minter’s “Green Pink Caviar” playing behind the bar, the New York contemporary artist’s video of a close up of a woman’s mouth as she licks and sucks and spits out, wait for it, green and pink caviar. There’s also a version where the mouth is having its way with a silvery substance. I first saw this video that time I checked out The Big Picture at the MOMA, and initially I thought the mouth was licking an ashtray, but alas, not only would that have been gross, but the whole caviar thing was great subtext for the mouth looking like some kind of poisonous, parasitic sea creature. It’s the perfect piece of
proof that Rande Gerber is more refined than you understated art, befitting a club that stretches the boundaries of modernity.
It’s a feast for the senses. Go. Eat. Drink. Get sucked in and spit out. The caviar never complains.
Happy Getting Your Basement Boozing On,